If you're like me and you follow a metric buttload of celebrities and influencers on Instagram, then you may have noticed an increase in blurry photos popping up all over your feed.
The decision might seem a bit weird given that blurry photos have existed as long as the ability to take photos has. After all, these are people with all the resources in the world to create an immaculate image, instead opting for something that looks like it was shot by me on my 2020 iPhone SE after too many hours awake. But then, that might be precisely the point.
If you recall the viral "vibe shift" piece by the Cut earlier this year (TL;DR, the vibe is shifting), one of the proposed shifts in vibe was to '00s "indie sleaze." “American Apparel, flash photography at parties, and messy hair and messy makeup,” trend-forecaster Sean Monahan posited.
At the start of this year, Harper's Bazaar hailed that the "indie sleaze" revival was well on its way back already — and suggested that it emphasized "authentic, genuine fun and freedom" above all else. A bit frightening for those of us who remember "indie sleaze" the first time around, IMHO.
The Cut further described the rise of the "party girl" aesthetic, rising in response to toxic wellness trends. Plus, there's likely the impact of the pandemic making an immaculately manicured image feel both further out of reach and less desirable (couldn't we all use some chaotic fun?).
Beyond the ~vibes,~ it's been pointed out that the look might also be a byproduct of the iPhone's Night Mode — which is automatically enabled on new iPhones whenever there's low light, delaying the exposure time and increasing the likelihood of blur city (a capacity that my practically ancient iPhone does not possess).
Mashable subsequently dubbed these pics "plurry" shots — the combination of planned + blurry. This seems like the natural progression of the "plandid" shot, sparking the ever-pressing debate of "plandid or candid."
Nomenclature aside, what could be cooler than a blurry shot that indicates that you were just having too much fun to check whether your camera was in focus? Authenticity city, baby! So candid! So cool!
The trouble here, as with all things Instagram, is that posting a picture that looks like it was taken in a split second doesn't mean that, well, only one photo was taken, or that tremendous thought wasn't put into the whole thing, yada yada yada.
Better minds than mine have thought about whether authenticity is really possible on social media, and it's not like a blurry shot can escape these trappings — even if it appears less immaculately Photoshopped than what one might have expected previously.
Either way, I'm at least glad that my awful nighttime iPhone pictures are now ~aesthetic.~